The Fisheries Bill designed to strengthen regulations on fisheries in Maldives has been withdrawn from the Parliament for revisions.
The Fisheries Bill was submitted on behalf of the Maldivian administration by Alifushi MP Mohamed Rasheed Hussain (Bigey) on April 16.
Speaker of Parliament, Qasim Ibrahim announced this Monday morning that the bill has been withdrawn from the Parliament at the request of Bigey.
The bill was designed to ban all unregulated fisheries activities in the Maldives Exclusive Economic Zone – whether commercial, leisure or sports.
A large number of Maldivian fishermen had taken to social media to protest against imposition of such heavy regulations on the fisheries industry.
An Bigey, bowing down to the pressure, had tweeted that he will be withdrawing the bill.
“I will withdraw the bill and make the revisions desired by the people,” tweeted Bigey on April 18.
Those who opposed the bill had protested against the imposition of heavy regulations on small fisheries activities. They took the stance that Maldivians should be able to hold activities such as fishing competitions in their own waters without requiring a prior written permit from the Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture.
PERMIT REQUIRED TO HOLD FISHING COMPETITIONS
The Fisheries Bill says that once it is passed, ratified and comes into effect, no fishing competitions for sports or any other purpose may be held in Maldives EEZ without a special permit from the Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture.
LEISURE OR SPORTS FISHING (ARTICLE 17 (a) OF FISHERIES BILL)
The Bill states that no party may hold fishing competitions in Maldives EEZ for sports or any other purpose without prior written permission from Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture. It sets down procedure for foreign parties to obtain permission for fishing in Maldives EEZ, but states that unpermitted entrance into Maldives EEZ by foreign vessels will be met with penalties.
The Bill does not specifically state the penalties which will be imposed for unpermitted entrance into Maldives EEZ, but empowers Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture with the authority to compile necessary regulations and declare necessary penalties under the Bill.The Bill, although it states a fee must be imposed for fishing license issued to both local and foreign parties, does not specify the fee, and leaves the decision to be made at the discretion of the Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture.
The Bill bans Maldivians from fishing outside of the Maldives EEZ, but says the Maldivians may fish outside of the Maldives EEZ with a valid written permit issued by Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture and as long as the parties comply with international laws and conventions.